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Getting Started with Developing an L&D Product

For the first time in history, the USGS has five generations working together.  This generational diversity presents our organization with a wide range of Learning and Development (L&D) challenges and opportunities.  To accommodate all USGS employees, the Distance Learning (DL) Team is adopting a new way to present L&D opportunities using Action Mapping by Cathy Moore. Instead of presenting learning in an academia format (knowledge dump → practice exercises → quiz), we are focusing on the performance problem first and the measurable goal for the L&D product. 

So, instead of offering a 2-hour online course, we want to provide the learner with the knowledge they need in a just-in-time format--such as a job aid, short instructional videos, real-world scenarios, or microlessons, etc.  This new way of doing things will save the USGS money and the learner’s time to get the critical skills they need to perform their jobs more effectively.

The flowchart, by Cathy Moore, will guide the meeting between the Subject-Matter Expert(s) (SME) and the DL Team to determine what the L&D product should be and how it will be delivered.

These are some of the questions the DL Team will ask the subject-matter expert(s):

  • What’s the measurable goal of the L&D product?
  • What do learners have to do to reach that goal?
  • Choose ONE high-priority task or behavior that the learner must be able to do because of the L&D product.
  • Why aren’t people doing this one thing? What’s causing the problem?
  • From this point, we can drill down and determine if the L&D product should be a simple job aid, maybe the learner would benefit from a series of short instructional videos to help them use a particular piece of equipment in the field, or maybe the learner would benefit from a series of real-world practice sessions to better understand a computer program or modelling software.

    However, if the product should be training, we can design a series of activities for the learner and then give them the optional information they may need. This gets us away from doing an “information dump” on the learner!

The options for a great L&D product are limitless! The DL Team is available to assist SME when they are ready to start an L&D product.

Please email the DL Team at: if you’d like further information or support!

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